In a woman's life there are some things that are practically guaranteed. Having a conflicted relationship with mom is one of them.
I mentioned a few posts back that my mother and me are estranged, which is nothing new since we go through estrangements at least once every couple of years. This one's pretty serious and complicated, though - so complicated that I have told my mother I believe we need to go into therapy together to work out our problems and learn how to communicate effectively with each other (she refuses, of course, lest she wouldn't be my mother).
Anyway, the other day I was taking a walk at lunch time with a co-worker. She's a new mom (her baby is about 1 year old) and we got to talking about our mothers. Turns out she has a very similar conflicted and dysfunctional relationship with her mother and as we traded stories about our latest upheavals, we realized how similar our situations are.
Here's the difference, though. Because I don't have children, my break from my mother is clean. When I need to be estranged from my mom - when her toxicity and emotional abuse are more than I can take - I can truly be away from her. My friend, on the other hand, is bound to her mother by her child. No matter what kind of problem she has with mother, she still must make it work - at least on the surface - so that her child's relationship with grandmom is not compromised.
I have siblings who have children and they are tethered to my mom. They rely on her for babysitting (she's their daycare center) so no matter what dysfunctional B.S. my mother heaps upon them, their mouths must stay zipped, lest they lose all the granny benefits.
Granted, this benefit of being able to be fully estranged from a parent isn't the type of childfree benefit one might shout from the rooftops. After all, it's not a joy to be estranged from mom and certainly not what I would prefer. But sometimes it is needed, like now. And if I had a child, I guarantee you I would be this.much.closer to snapping.